Firefighters Equipped with Pet Oxygen Masks

Provides life-saving support to injured pets

By Matt Bartosik
|  Wednesday, May 19, 2010  |  Updated 12:45 PM CDT
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When an emergency situation arises, Chicago pet owners—and their beloved four-legged friends—can breathe easier now, literally.

Invisible Fence Brand, a pet safety company, donated more than 235 pet oxygen masks to the Chicago Fire Department, reports Chicago Breaking News.

That's enough to equip every fire truck and rescue unit in the city with the puppy and kitty protection kits.

"We're hopeful citizens in the City of Chicago are comforted knowing that we have the tools necessary to help save their pet," said First Deputy Fire Commissioner Robert Hoff. "We all too often see people who want to risk their own live running back into a burning home to get their pet. We can all recall a fire from the past when these kits would have helped save a pet."

Nationwide estimates claim more than 40,000 pets are killed in fires every year, usually due to smoke inhalation. Even when an animal is pulled from a burning building, it will die of the smoke it inhales if it's not properly provided with oxygen.

Emergency responders typically aren't outfitted to deal with these unfortunate crises. Human oxygen masks don't fit well over pets' snouts.

The effectiveness of the new pet masks was proven last year, when two unresponsive dogs in Wichita, Kansas, were revived by firefighters using equipment donated by Invisible Fence, reports

"Things can be replaced. Lives can't," said Suzie Hyatt, the dogs' owner's sister. "Whether they're animals or people."

Matt Bartosik is a Chicago native and a social media sovereign.

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